KARACHI: The Rangers seem to have found no substantial evidence against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement worker, Umair Hussain Siddiqi alias Jailer, during his three-month detention. They have, however, corrected their facts by halving the number of killings he allegedly committed, abetted and ordered.
Siddiqi, who allegedly ran a target-killing cartel in the city, was taken into custody during the March 11 raid at the party headquarters, Nine Zero. He was subsequently grilled for 90 days after the paramilitary force contended it had credible information against him.
A press release issued by the force on March 14 had asserted that Siddiqi was involved in 120 murders and other acts of violence. When it came before the court, however, the murder figures were reduced to half.
On Wednesday, Siddiqi was presented before the anti-terrorism court-II by the police after his first remand in a double murder case expired. In the said case, the suspect was accused of killing two tea vendors, Niaz Gul and Iqbal Hussain, and injuring another by firing at a hotel in Gulshan-e-Maymar in April 2013.
Read: Damning BBC report: Govt to get to the bottom of charges against MQM
Special public prosecutor, Rana Khalid, who represented the paramilitary force, told the court that the suspect had confessed to killing over 64 opponents during interrogation. However, the prosecution did not submit any documents containing data of the deceased. Khalid pleaded the court to extend the suspect's remand in police custody so he could be further interrogated about his offences and accomplices.
On hearing these revelations, the judge turned towards Siddiqi and asked him about his educational qualifications. Siddiqi, who wore a light-green shalwar kameez, responded that he held a Master's degree.
The judge then asked the accused when he was picked up, to which the suspect responded with a date in February, a month before the Rangers claimed to have arrested him. In response to the judge's further queries, Siddiqi said that he worked as a computer programmer at the Sindh Government Hospital, Liaquatabad, and also volunteered at the MQM election cell.
At long last, the defence was given the chance to argue its case. Latif Pasha, who is also a member of the MQM's legal aid committee, opposed granting the police more custody of the suspect. He contended that the allegations against his client were false and baseless as the prosecution had failed to bring any incriminating evidence against him despite having him in custody for three months.
The suspect may be sent to jail on judicial remand, Pasha pleaded, complaining that the paramilitary force was taking him away from police custody.
Read: Remand extended: Rangers allowed to interrogate MQM 'mass killer' for another 10 days
The judge, after hearing the arguments, observed that the court could not interfere in the investigations and the allegations against the suspect were of a serious nature. He allowed the police to keep the suspect for two more weeks.
Meanwhile, the suspect was also remanded by another ATC in other case of killing a Rangers official, Shaukat, near Mosamiyat in 2010.
Both the courts have fixed July 9 for the next hearing of the cases.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2015.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ